Keeping it clean

This week’s #happyhouserules is about cleaning. Yes, that’s right.  Cleaning!

We talked about cleaning at the beginning of the year as part of a new year cleanse but in reality, it’s not just a once a year exercise but an ongoing, regular activity (well…at least it should be!).

While the answer to “Is it clean?” is no doubt different for most of us, generally speaking, if it’s covered in grime/dirt/dust or cobwebs then that should give you a bit of a clue as to the answer! If you can’t see out of a window or your reflection in the mirror looks hazy then a wipedown of those surfaces would definitely be in order (unless of course you prefer not to see yourself properly, which leads me to other questions but perhaps those are for another time). I could go on about when things might need a clean but I’m fairly certain you know … you might not want to know, but you do know.

keeping it clean

So. Our Happy House Rule for this week is to “Keep it clean”. It’s an exercise that we include in our courses and is fairly straightforward so here goes:

1. Stop and look around your space. Look HARD (because we often lose the ability to really ‘see’ things that we walk past regularly so take the time to do this properly).

2. Once you’ve looked then you’ll know what needs your attention. Out of those things, surfaces, drawers, corners etc, pick one thing that you will clean. Start small. A quick win is always a motivation booster!

3. Planning – think about what you need to properly clean the area you’ve chosen and how long it will take you to both acquire your cleaning materials and actually do the cleaning.  Then, plan this in your diary for the week.

4. When the time comes, grab your cleaning materials and completely empty the area that you have chosen. (Yes, this is also why I suggested that you start small.)

5. Clean the area, be it a shelf or a drawer or a corner (floor, walls) etc AND clean all the items you’re returning to the area before you place them back there (also relocate or throw out the things that no longer belong). Clean it all.

6. Stand back, admire your work and give yourself a big pat on the back for a job well done! Yay!

7. And repeat (if you wish) all over the house.

There are a lot more tips we have with respect to cleaning and learning how to make it an easy habit so feel free to ask specifically in the comments if you want to know them! But a lot of you might be wondering how “Keeping it clean” could possibly be a major Happy House Rule for us. Well, besides the obvious health benefits of living in a less dirty/dusty home, what a regular cleaning practice could help you with are the following:

– It encourages you to take notice of where things/stuff/clutter stagnate in your space so you can deal with these areas (research has shown that clutter makes a lot of people rather stressed and unhappy)

– It allows you to engage with your things (also shown to be important in terms of our enjoyment of them)

– It encourages you to change things around in your home (as they say, a change is as good as a holiday for giving yourself a little pep up)

– It ensures that you are ‘seeing’ your home and catching anything that needs repair early on (which will save you money in the end – you’ll be much happier with that I’m sure!)

– It pretty much ensures that you only keep the things that you need and love (because moving mountains of things aside to clean and then putting it all back – well, you’ll get sick of that pretty swiftly)

The above list is by no means exhaustive but rather a handful of things to get you motivated to do something that most of us find a chore.  If that’s not enough then perhaps thinking of cleaning as an act of gratitude (which has also been shown to increase happiness) might help – so go thank your home for providing you with shelter and safety by giving it some TLC. Someone once told me that it helps to name the items that you need to clean so it’s easier to remember to give them some love once in a while – so why not try it with some of the items that you hate cleaning the most (like the Ollie the Oven) and see if it works!

As always, let us know how you go,

Tip & Nat

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Image credit: Dustpan & broom. Design by Ole Jensen for Normann Copenhagen.

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